The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Monday called for tougher sanctions against multinational companies engaged in illicit financial flows and tax evasion.
Adeosun, who stated this at the Platform for Collaboration on Tax Conference in New York, United States, also said there was a need to classify tax malpractices by multinational corporations in Nigeria and other developing countries as corrupt practices.
The PCT is an initiative of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund and the United Nations.
The minister, according to a statement by her Media Adviser, Mr. Oluyinka Akintunde, explained that Nigeria was doubly affected by illicit financial flows as a result of corruption and tax evasion.
She requested global organisations such as the OECD, World Bank, the IMF and the United Nations to see the tax avoidance actions of multinational companies as corrupt practices.
“There is absolute need for a complete understanding of how these multinational corporations behave in Nigeria and developing countries; many operate a completely different standard in Africa to what obtains globally,” Adeosun said.
The finance minister stated that options to sue such companies in their own countries were being explored by the Federal Government, adding that the designation of tax crime as foreign corrupt practices would support such efforts.
On the issue of illicit financial flows, she noted that Nigeria, under President Muhammadu Buhari, was taking strong action and was determined to reverse their impact.
“Internal measures include tightening financial controls and surveillance, adoption of the National Tax Policy with its commitment to regular revisions of tax laws, and the ongoing tax amnesty programme, the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme,” she added.
Adeosun stated further that the Federal Government would use every available avenue to improve its revenue generation and tax collection
By putting the fight against illicit financial flows at the forefront, she said the United Nations was supporting the government’s drive to boost revenue.
“The Nigerian government is taking responsibility for preventing illicit flows but the range of measures used and the sheer volumes are such that the recipient nations must also take measures to discourage the flows into their countries by asking more questions,” she added.
She commended the recent initiative by the United Kingdom government with the Unexplained Wealth Orders and requested that more countries should adopt such measures.